BEREA, KENTUCKY—It was in 1909 that Berea College, located here, first opened the Boone Tavern Hotel. Next year, 100 years after its opening, the college intends to reopen the hotel as a green property, one that will pursue the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Existing Buildings Gold certification. The hotel, which is managed by Atlanta-based Cornerstone USA, is currently undergoing a $9.6 million renovation. If Berea College achieves its LEED Gold goal, the Boone Tavern Hotel will be the first Gold-certified property in Kentucky and one of the first in the United States.
The Boone Tavern Hotel closed earlier this month and will open again in April after undergoing the first part of its renovation. A state-of-the-art kitchen will be added and a power-generating elevator will be installed. On May 1, the hotel and dining room will reopen while work on the guestrooms and building infrastructure will continue in phases throughout the year. The hotel will close again in January 2009 to allow for renovation of the hotel lobby.
Gary McCormick, general manager of the 58-room property, says that when the college’s trustees agreed to renovate the hotel, they decided they wanted it to be an environmental leader. The college, McCormick says, has long been recognized as an innovator in preserving Appalachian culture and natural resources.
Hotel to Expand to 64 Rooms
Once all of the renovations are complete, the hotel will have 64 guestrooms and be much more resource-efficient. Heating and cooling systems will be upgraded, and dual-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads will be installed. Building insulation will be enhanced, air coming into the building will be filtered, and skylights will increase the amount of natural light entering the building’s interior. In guestrooms, CFLs will replace incandescents, and natural amenities will be offered. Guests and staff will be encouraged to recycle, and green cleaning products will ensure a high level of indoor air quality. Outside the hotel, a system will be put in place to capture rainwater for later use. Flowers and shade trees native to the area will be planted.
McCormick says that prior to the renovation, the hotel had already taken some steps to reduce its impact.
“In our restaurant, we attempt to use as much local product as possible,” he says. “We also support the local farmer’s market.”
Berea College charges students no tuition and admits only those students who have limited economic resources. All students work at least 10 hours per week in campus and service jobs. Some of the college’s students will be handcrafting the beds for the hotel. Tile that will be used in the renovated bathrooms is also being made by the students.
Go to the Boone Tavern Hotel.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.